The Bookseller: A Novel

The Bookseller: A Novel

by Cynthia Swanson


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A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams.

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . .

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062333018
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/22/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 111,117
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Cynthia Swanson is the USA Today bestselling author of The Glass Forest and The Bookseller. The Bookseller won the 2016 WILLA Award for Historical Fiction and has been translated into a dozen languages. She has published short fiction in numerous journals and been a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Kathe Mazur has narrated many audiobooks, winning the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2014, being named a finalist for the Audie Award in 2013 and 2015, and winning several AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actress, she can be seen as DDA Hobbs on The Closer and in the upcoming Major Crimes. She has worked extensively in film, theater, and television, including appearances on Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, House, Brothers and Sisters, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, ER, Monk, and many others.

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The Bookseller: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so intriging i kept reading late into the night. I woke up early and finished the book in a matter of hours. The book kept me guessing about what was happening. I definately recommend this book.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real that when you woke up you had to take a few minutes to decide where you were?   That is Kitty’s life.  She is having dreams and living real life.   These two worlds are colliding and she is having a hard time deciding what is real.     I have thought what if… what if I hadn’t met my wonderful husband and had my amazing children?   What if I hadn’t started working for my parents?   What if… what if… what if… that is the world of Kitty.   By seeing Kitty’s what if’s I felt that I really got to know and understand her.   I knew her life, her wishes, her dreams, and where her life was heading.   Or so I thought.   I loved watching her cope with both worlds and try to figure out what was happening.    When the light finally went on for Kitty, I sighed.    She is in the right place, with the right people, and with the right tools to make her life happy.   Cynthia Swanson has written a book showing how people can cope with stress in their life.   I don’t want to give away what that stress is, but I didn’t see it coming.   It shows how people use mechanisms to cope with events in the world.     I thought I was picking up a light and fun read.  It was, but it was more than that.   I could not put the book down.   I was excited to learn more about Kitty and her lives.    This is definitely a book I would recommend.   
crystalbrooke523 More than 1 year ago
A delightful book that gives you an ending you would not have thought to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really did not know what to expect when I purchased this book. Captivating from the beginning to the end. I don't know you would call this a mystery. But it held my interest. Is the woman living a parallel life or is she dreaming? Read it in one day. Would be a good book club book.
aggiez More than 1 year ago
I selected the book on the title and was intrigued with the story line. I was pleasantly surprised that the bookseller was really only a small portion of the character of the novel. I loved how it flowed and I was also surprised by the ending.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings One woman and almost two different lives/storylines.  She is working in a bookstore with a friend and as she goes to sleep she enters a different world of what could have been.  She enters this dream world often and as the story continues you learn more about both paths and what has led her to where she truly is. Katharyn/Kitty was a fantastic character.  She was complex yet simple and just charming.  I wanted to know more about her and what made her tic.  I loved that although the two different life paths were different, you could see her taking both and being happy in either, but one of them is really where her life is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, keeps you interested until the end wondering how it will come together. Highly recommended
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book, some parts ran on too long. Overall a good tead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U wont be wasting your money, this was a very good book, Didnt want o puit down,tI
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this story. Quick read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A page-turner! Well-written and captured my attention immediately. I finished it within 24 hours of starting. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the first page, I was hooked. I loved KItty/Katharyn. She moved so smoothly between worlds, it took me awhile before I realized which was real. Thank you so much for this book. It was a joy to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
[ I received this book free through a contest on Socrates Book Blog . I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising]. "What I've learned over the years is that nothing is as permanent as it appears from the start" Kitty Miller, single, over 30, part owner of her own business in Denver CO, is happy, even if her life is unconventional. She has friends, family and Aslan, her cat. However, things aren't EXACTLY what they seem.... She begins to dream of another life where she, Katharyn Andersson, is married with children, and as a stay at home mother she's given up things and dreams to be a wife and mother. It's a world of dreams and expectations, but is it a world that Kitty Miller wants? What is real, are either of them? What do you lose when you let go? An absolutely wonderfully disturbing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really gripping. One of those books that stays with you throughout your day thinking about what's happening. Read it. You won't be sorry!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Different from anything I've read in a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had no idea how it would end. THRILLED
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pulled me in instantly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good srory & well written. Characters are fleshed out nicely .... a really enjoyable novel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about as far away from what I normally read as you can get (my norm is Sigma Force, Black Ops shoot-em-ups.) I have no idea why I bought this book but I am so glad I did. The story, characters and flow of the book are wonderful! I could not put the book down as this skilled author totally pulled me into both worlds. BUY IT! YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED! I look forward to her second novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting story without being too complicated. I'm very stingy with 5 star ratings, so this is a 4+. I will look for more titles from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written, and the story comes together in an interesting, satisfying way.
Tenshi21 More than 1 year ago
Kitty owns a bookshop with her best friend Frieda. Life seems normal, not fulfilling, but normal none the less. Although single, she lives a life of happiness...that is until her dreams begin. In her dreams she experiences another life. She is Katharyn, married and has three children. Kitty finds she is happy with her dream life, knowing they are merely dreams created by her overactive imagination. The dreams begin to cross the line of reality, causing her to seek out similarities and differences between them. Soon Kitty is unable to decipher which world is real life and which is simply her imagination. Both lives have aspects and people she loves dearly, yet have their shortcomings. Which will Kitty decide is her reality? An independent life as the owner of a bookshop with her best friend or the life of a housewife in a happy marriage? We have all had "what if" moments and thoughts throughout our lives, yet this novel takes those one step further. A difference in one event in our life could have substantial different futures. The dream world and her reality are that very thing, two possible worlds changed by two events. Kitty had high aspirations as a young adult that just did not seem to pan out. Her bookshop was sinking and she was still single. She had given up on relationships until she met Lars within her dreams. She never thought she would be so happy with a man. Then she saw she had children as well and she was initially confused but grew to love them, not without difficulty. This life did not come without its downfalls. (view spoiler) She is such a caring mother, that really sat with me. In this world, she does everything for her children. Being a mother myself, I connected with Kitty...felt her pain. In the end Kitty discovers which world is real and which is her imagination. The ending is bittersweet, happy but with some sadness entwined. I loved that this book showed that although our life may not be exactly as we once wished, we can be happy. We can each find out place in this world. No matter which path we take there will be both love and loss, benefits and shortcomings. The only aspect of this book I did not enjoy was that it was written in first person, present tense. The main character was telling me everything that occurred, as if writing a diary, rather than showing me events. Although I did not prefer the writing style, a vast amount of detail was used from the beginning. I was able to picture what the house looked like very vividly. Overall, this was a good read. It was filled with mystery that left the reader confused, wondering which of these worlds was real. There was a clear "ah ha" moment when the reader knew exactly what was happening. I felt sadness and joy for Kitty in the end. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something new that will toy with your emotions and make you question the power of your past "what if" moments.
eagle3tx More than 1 year ago
Meh. This book felt contrived and I never was able to care about the characters. I read primarily for entertainment, rather than edification. This book is either a lot deeper than i realize and i missed the point, or it is as mediocre as it felt. I didn't hate it, but i wouldn't recommend it to a friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I love books and little bookstores. Once I started reading, however, the whole plotline kept drawing me in. I can relate to Kitty/Kathryn on such a basic level. Being a parent of an autistic child set me up for even more buy-in. Lovely, thought-provoking, and addictive read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I hope to see a new book from her soon!